The world has some great museums; The Guggenheim, The Louvre, and The British Museum are all world class institutions. Here at Culture Trip, we don’t just love the big and famous, we love the unusual too. Here then, are 15 weirdly wonderful food museums that prove ‘if you collect it, they will come’.
The SPAM® Museum, USA
The meat that helped win World War II, Spam still has a loyal following in its hometown of Austin, Minnesota (and also, unusually, Hawaii). If you’ve ever wanted to know all about the history of the original canned meat, this 16,500-square foot free museum is for you.
With a history stretching back to ancient Mesopotamia, gelato and other iced desserts have been with us for a very long time. This 1,000-square meter museum contains 20 gelato making machines, hundreds of archive images and informative videos. There are also masterclasses, demonstrations and of course – lots of ice cream.
A shrine to the culinary creation of Momofuku Ando, who gave the world instant noodles in 1958. Ando worked non-stop for a whole year, sleeping only four hours a night to develop his creation. Today instant noodles are all over the globe, but it all started here. There’s a hands-on chicken ramen factory to take part in too.
This museum celebrates Idaho’s greatest export – potatoes. Indeed, a third of the States’ spuds – some 27 billion – are grown here. Housed in an old freight train depot, the museum is home to the largest collection of potato mashers in the world, and if that wasn’t enough, there’s also the world’s largest crisp on display.
Currywurst is to Berlin what pizza is to Naples. This hugely popular snack was invented after WWII when local food stall owner, Herta Heuwer, acquired some spicy sauces from occupying British forces and added them to the traditional German sauces.
Housed in Ye Ol’ Watering Hole pub in Northampton, Massachusetts is the Beer Can Museum. The collection began just before WWII (see the website for the full tragic story) and was added to considerably in 1975. Cigarette smoke took its toll on the collection, but thanks to the help of volunteers, it’s been restored. The collection now includes over 4000 cans, plus as it’s housed in a working pub, you can enjoy some bar time too.
People go to Amsterdam for all sort of experiences, and this museum shows why you should make cheese one of them. You can try samples of famous Dutch cheeses, try on traditional dresses, and see the most expensive cheese slicer ever made.
Discover the magic of mustard at this free museum in Middleton, Wisconsin. There’s quizzes, a tasting bar, and The Great Wall of Mustard, an epic collection of 5,624 types of mustard from all 50 states, and over 70 countries worldwide. If you like it hot, head here.
Loved by the Romans, sloshed on British fish and chips, and drizzled on salads, vinegar gives food flavour, and the International Vinegar Museum in Roslyn, South Dakota is the only museum in the world dedicated to the piquant condiment. Here you can learn about the different types of vinegar, from malt to balsamic, as well as see vinegars from all over the world.
Who doesn’t like a good slice o’ pizza pie? This museum and regular pizzeria in the Fishtown neighbourhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is also home to the world’s largest collection of pizza paraphernalia, including toys, menus and other collectables.
We’ve all taken our eye off the stove at some time in our lives. The result? Burnt food. When this happened to Deborah Henson-Conant’s apple cider, she decided to start collecting other examples of burnt food, and thus the museum was born. If you’ve ever burnt food to oblivion, you can add a photo to their facebook page, but as for the actual exhibition, it’s only made public on very rare occasions.
Museums of the Olive in the Mediterranean
Not one, not even a few, but 15 museums are part of the this family of institutions scattered across the Mediterranean from Spain in the West to Italy, Greece, Turkey and Israel. The Greek one in Sparta is a modern museum telling the story of olives in the Greek culture.
Big Mac® Museum, USA
‘Two all Beef patty special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions on a sesame seed bun,’ goes the Big Mac’s famous jingle-cum-recipe method. Now over 40 years old, the Big Mac has its own museum; pose next to the world’s largest Big Mac model as well as finding out more about its inventor.